An old fear monster has been hanging out in my brain a lot these last few months. I have an inspiring, well-written and edited book available for publication (The Gift of Crisis: Finding your best self in the worst of times). There even is a proposal ready to be sent, should a literary agent or publisher be interested. Yet, I have been dragging my feet (procrastinating, “alternatively productive,” busy with client work…. ie. scared) about taking the next step—sending out letters to potential agents.
My rational brain knows that a rejection letter wouldn’t mean my book is unworthy of publication. Literary agents are not infallible when it comes to picking potential best sellers. I know this is true because I Googled it (20 Famous Authors Who Were Rejected).
And it certainly wouldn’t indicate that I am not good enough (the current old fear at play here). In fact, logical thinking continues to point out that Brené Brown (best selling author of some amazing books on vulnerability and finding our courage) had her first book turned down by literary agents and publishers.
And while this takes the whole “they know more than I do about my book’s worthiness” pretty much off the table, it hasn’t been enough to move me into action. The part of me who still carries the old fears about not being good enough has been stalling, hoping for an easier (read: highly affirming/rejection free) path to publication.
The other day, while listening to a podcast by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Big Magic”) and Brené Brown on creativity and whole-hearted living, I found the key that has moved me from fear of rejection into purposeful action. *
Brené said three things that have been pinging around in my head:
“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.”
“The only unique contribution we will make to this world will be born of creativity.”
“Unused creativity is not benign.”
Just lately, these quotes have moved into my heart, inspiring it to speak louder than my fear. Brené’s words remind me that my soul came here to help others survive, heal, grow—even find their best selves–from the obstacles and crises in their lives. Furthermore the wisdom I have gained is unique to me—no one else can bring it into the world. And if, as Henry David Thoreau points out, I do not want to go to my grave with my song still in me, it’s time to get moving.
So, here I go into the world of query letters—holding on to Brené’s example and inspiration with both hands. All help, suggestions, or introductions gratefully received!
*Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcasts are called “Magic Lessons.” The one with Brené is Episode 12, “Big Strong Magic.”